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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Slow Cooker

For Christmas we got a slow cooker from my mum. And I love it!! I thought I would share the pictures of the first meal we made in it. Pork Ragout, and it was LUSH!! It's convenient, specially when I am working long days! We brought one of those wall plug timer things so that it can turn itself on during the day if we are not there to do it. I'm working a long day tomorrow so maybe I'll do a chicken stew, we'll never eat properly if I don't!


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Rose bush massacre

Today was the day I decided to attack the rose bush! A few pricks and scrapes later and I won! Ill probably be pretty bruised too!
This is it in full bloom last May, isn't it gorgeous

Before I attacked it

And After!

It actually doesn't look as bad as i thought. I have never pruned a bush before and I think I got a bit carried away. I sawed off loads of dead branches so it looks a bit bare now but im sure the new growth will more than make up for it!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Project Chicken has began!

First of all i apologise if my posts are somewhat repetitative now... but sinse I only have one follower it's not like I can loose many fans!

So the plan is underway and I have changed my mind again already but for two very good reasons:
  1. The coop i chose in the last post was actually too big to fit even though i measured the garden, silly me!
  2. I managed to win some cheap paving slabs on eBay which means i dont need to bother with chicken wire and bricks! the coop can sit right on top, instantly making it fox proof!

So this is the coop I have chosen, it is more or less the same as the other one only it is slighly thinner so will fit between the tree and the fence. They are on special offer at the moment so you can get both the run and extension (as pictured) for £99.99!!!! Thats super cheap for what it is so i am a happy bunny. OOOH and inclided is a free feeder and drinker, saving yet more money!


After extensive reading I decided that this would be the best option as it really protects the chickens from Mr. Fox and is easiest to keep the smells down and keep it clean. The plan is to use an inch or two of gravel (which we will recycle from the stuff I pulled up last summer) inside the coop on top of the slabs so they have something to forage through (plus extra bits like a sand box and maybe a space for a mud bath?). This way you can use a bucket/hose to rinse through the stones and then all the water drains into the earth beneaf, potentially providing good fertiliser for the damson tree! We brought 24 slabs for £23 and brought them home last night... now that was a scary journey home; our car suspension was practically on the floor!! Woops! I don't think Scott was best pleased.

I plan to order the coop next week when i should be here when it is delivered; the next steps include buying sawdust, health supplies, cleaning/disinfectant and finally CHICKENS!! Actually seeing it written like that, theres really not that much left. A lot of the hard work has been in the planning... oh and I guess I can't forget that we are going to have to dig up and relevel the garden. Now that might take a while!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The landlord said YES!


Wee! Very excited! Moving on from my last post, we went home for the weekend and I spent quite a lot of time annoying Richard about the best way to keep chickens; he thinks that as you can get such cheap all in one coop and run that that would be my best bet! Thinking about it, it would save me loads of time setting it all up too... I like ease! Also i am very unlikely to be able to get hold of a coop for under £50 like i said in my last post.

I have just been out to measure the space in the garden which they will be going.

This is the space back when i tried to grow grass... (although some very small clumps still remain somehow!)
So the space doesn't really look that big but 3.4m by 1.2m (the darn tree gets in the way!) isn't that bad! Acutally I'm finding it difficult to find a coop at a decent price which will fill it adequately. I don't mind if it is smaller but it would be nice for them to have as much run space as possible. The happier the chicken the better the eggs!

£149.99

The reason i think this one is the best (that i have found so far, as i change my mind every 5minutes!) is because it is actually make for 9 large birds. Although to be fair that would probably be cramming the poor buggers in. Ok so I only want 2 chickens but this means that the run is much bigger to begin with. They reccomend that a chicken shouls have a minimum of 3 square feet of  run space; and this one has a total of 24 square feet. But for to the point you can buy run extensions! They are an extra £42 each which seems pretty steep but i can live with that.


As i will be getting them in June i hope that whenever i am there they will be able to roam free in the garden over the summer meaning that I could always add the extension in the winter when the weather goes bad. The main down side to this one is that is has felting on the roof and ladder which can be perfect sources for red mite. Ill find a way round that though, how hard can it be to take off? I will also put some tarpaulin on the top of the run to try and keep the ground underneath. soggy bottoms seem to me thain main culprit for the runs stinking the street out and complaining neighbours is really not cool!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Project Chicken...

Advances on the chicken front!!! Ok so we haven't asked our landlord yet if it is ok BUT Scott has said yes; once i have finished all my uni assignments in June. But thats fine, that gives me some motivation to get my work done (and not write blogs instead, of course) and give me chance to plan for them properly! Since my last blog i have spent too much time googling and ebaying but i now have a pretty good idea of what i would like!

1. The Chicken coop (hopfully a maximum of £50)

I have spent time looking into what is the best type of coop to have and i have come to the inclusion that just a coop (without an attached run) would be the best option for me. This would allow me to make the run whatever size i want it and it "should" be fox proof.. which i don't think the premade runs would be very good at!


This is the sort of thing i would like. The best feature is that has been elevated off the ground which stops rodents ruining the bottom along with rot from the ground. This one will house upto 6 chickens but i still feel that two is more than enough for us at the moment. At least with it being bigger when we go away they can happily live in there with just fresh food and water every day. Also, if we decide we want some more (probably when we get our own place), we can!

2.  The Run (£102)

Now this has been the difficult one as it gets pretty expensive. At first i was thinking a simple bit of mesh would do it but i don't think it will keep the foxes out, they are crafty beggers, instead i think some more heavy duty stuff would b better, and actually a bit better looking too..


I know that doesn't look like much protection for chickens but i also plan to get some barrier fencing to act as a double layer which has smaller holes. Also the fencing comes in something silly like 50m so i will also use that to make a safety roof over the top.


Along with using this over the top i will probably also use some tarpaulin over some of the roof so the chickens have some shelter from the rain when they need it! Would be the best place to put the feeders too!
Theres a place in Devon who sell second hand fence posts which will be perfect to bring it all together. I also need to think about making a gate so i can get into the pen to clean it out but that shouldnt be too difficult. All the little extra bits and bobs needed would include: wooden strips (for the gate), lock, hinges, staples and cable ties.

3. Chicken Accessories (£58)

The main thing i need to think about here is chicken feeder/drinks bottle, bedding etc.


These are a bargain! £7.20 for one bale of saw dust should last an age with just two chickens! The only problem may be storing the stuff!


Feeder and Drinker. These ones look quite small but are supposed to cater for upto four chickens. I wont complain as the price is good!
FEED!! The little ones will need to eat! Mole Valley is the cheapest i can find feed which is a bit annoying really as i would have to go home everytime we need some feed! BUT the bags are 25kg! which should also last an age with just two chickens! As it will be staying out in the shed i will also need to think about getting a plastic container to keep it in as i don't really fancy feeding the rats too..


This starter kit will cover the health needs of the chickens. A starter kit is probably a good way to go while i am still learning the ropes. It includes mite killer, Vitamins and minerals, smite liquid and powder to disinfect the coop and Gut Conditioner for preventing worms.

4. CHICKENS!! (£32)

Now the internet tells me that i should think very carefully about the types of chicken i choose. Essentially i want ones that will lay lots of eggs! But i also have to think about the nature of the chiken because i don't want them attaching eachother!

This is a Silver Link Chicken, who is meant to lay 300+ eggs a year! Perfect! They are known to be good garden chickens as they are docile but curious!

This is a Goldline Chicken. She is also a placid but friendly bird and looks like a traditional chicken! Again she is also a very good egg producer, the website i intend on getting them from says that there is very few days of the year she wont lay, providing she is happy!



All in all i am looking at spending quite a lot of money really. If i am going to do it properly it is going to be around £242!!!! More than i was thinking really. Maybe i can come up with a cheaper was of doing the run. Also i haven't actually measured the space in which they will live so that might save me money as i don't think ill need as much materials as i have accounted for.. Well i hope so anyway!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

CHICKENS!!

I spent the night at a good friends house last night who happens to have her own chickens in her back garden; which with my over active imagination, specially for a project has now got me thinking. The last couple of weeks i have started thinking about what i am going to do in terms of growing the grass back. Well... if i have chickens i wont need to bother!!!! They can occupy the area whist we live here and then ill just put the ugly stones back down when we go!! I am going to get Scott to email our landlord later and see what she says, as long as we put the garden back together again when we leave i really don't see why it would be a problem... she has no idea i pulled all the stones up as it is so the damage is kinda already done anyway..

I have been looking at houses for them all afternoon and can't decide whether a house and a run is a good option or just to buy a house and make a run myself.
The premade runs look so small. Ok i only want 2 chickens but i would feel mean if they didn't have a lot of space. But then can i really be bothered to make my own pen around a house? The houses are nice but that it much more work... I guess it would completely come down to price!
This one is made for 6 birds so i wouldn't need one that big.. I'm not sure..

OK so ill need:
  • Housing
  • An area for a run or pen
  • 1 feeder (or more depending on how many hens you're keeping)
  • 1 drinker (or more depending on how many hens you're keeping)
  • Feed bin (safe from pests and vermin accessing it)
  • Feed scoop
  • Bedding
  • Nest boxes
Food Suppliments and Medical Supplies...
  • Poultry tonic/spice (vit and mineral supplement)
  • Citricidal (good for colds and coughs etc)
  • Cider vinegar
  • Anti-mite/lice/flea powder
  • Flubenvet or Verm-X for regular worming treatment
  • Vaseline
  • Limestone flour or Davinova C (Calcium supplement)
  • Garlic powder (helps keep hens in good health and also reduces the odour from the droppings). 

Websites to remember:
  • http://www.henkeeping.co.uk/general-care.html
  • http://www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/pets/farmanimals/chickens


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